Once upon a time, I had a client from Detroit. He is no longer with us and his death certificate does not reflect "natural causes". He was of Greek ancestry and therefore not a "made" man, but he was connected up the ying-yang. In one of our many conversations, in which he would boast, non-stop, of his recognized status, he not-so-casually mentioned that he was a friend of Sinatra. A good friend. Naturally, I was impressed for I was and am one of the trillions of die hard Sinatra fans. As previously posted, the sound of his voice gets me high. I am a hero worshipper. My client went on to say, more specifically, that he had done The Voice a big favor. This statement was stored in my memory bank, not because I viewed this guy as George Washington, but rather because he had taken the liberty of uttering the Chairman's name.
Flash ahead two years. A business/pleasure trip landed me in Las Vegas with my illustrious partner. As the plane hit the tarp at McCarran Airport, I noticed a sign alongside the runway, promoting Caesar's Palace, which succinctly announced "HE'S HERE." No help needed in deciphering that code. Frank was opening, that night. Once in my hotel room, I scooted to my partner's suite and screamed,"Sinatra opens at Caesar's tonight! We gutta go!" I was met with a red face and the words,"I know. Can't get tickets. Anywhere. We'll see Tom Jones." I explained where Mr. Jones could go and set forth my incredulity at this prominent figure's professed inability to obtain tickets for the Strip's Main Event. He simply spread out his hands, face up, and shrugged. I had a panic attack. Ol Blue Eyes, so near and yet so far. And, suddenly, what was left of my brain cells kicked in with a memory report. My Detroit client's bluff was about to be called.
"Do you mind if I try/"
"Go ahead. Knock yourself out."
I raced to my room and made the call. I got him, first shot, and detailed the situation. He could surely hear the urgency in my tone. The client's deep voice: "Give me your room number and stay by the phone." Never, I thought, will this guy come through. Ten minutes later, I pick up my ringing phone to the sound of a woman's voice.
"May I speak to attorney Gerald Alch?"
"This is he."
"This is Mr. Sinatra's personal secretary. How many in your party?" I did a quick mental count.
"Your tickets will be with the maitre d'. Enjoy the evening."
BINGO! My clint's "in" was solid. My partner's face was redder, still.
I shaved, showered and dressed to the nines. This was Vegas BACK THEN. No corporations at the helm. THE BOYS ran the show. No jeans or khakis. A dinner show at a Strip casino, especially on Sinatra's opening night, was serious stuff. I figured, since I had a little time, I'd enjoy the casino for a bit. I told my wife to meet me at the elevators in thirty minutes. I approached the craps table.
Growing up, I had learned the fringe details of the game. I knew the odds on each number, that 7 or 11 was a winner on the first toss and that shooting "craps" made you a loser. I edged into the crowd around the table and waited for the dice to come my way. Heavy roller that I was, my hand was holding 5 ten dollar chips. I put one down and threw the cubes. SEVEN! A second toss. SEVEN, again. My stake had quadrupled. Cutting to the chase, I rolled 12 straight passes. A crowd of people had gathered and was betting on my every throw. I was making real money for them and their vocal encouragement created a flock. During the streak, I heard my name being paged. It was my wife, wondering where the hell I was. I neither blinked, wiped my brow nor wiggled a toe, lest I lose the luck. I finally "crapped out", tipped the stick man, cashed in my chips and met up with her. I related my success story and returned to the table so that my karma could be hers. Everybody welcomed me back. I handed her the dice and said, "Throw them on the table and yell "seven-eleven". She suddenly became a major league outfielder. She threw those damned dice with an overhand throw that would have made Willy Mays proud. Everyone's head followed the arch as if at a tennis match. To this day, they are still looking for those dice.
The show was wadduyouthink! The audience was filled with A-List celebrities. Sinatra was aware and he was sparked all the more. To see him in person is an experience unique unto itself. An unforgettable moment that always stays with you.
Halfway through the show, he went to monologue. He was given a list of the luminaries in the audience, and he read them off, one by one. The Chairman spoke my name. Perhaps now, you'll understand why endorphins flow when I listen to him sing.
That must have been one hell of a favor.